Lewin, Eyal. “‘It’s the National Ethos, Stupid’! – Understanding the Political Psychology of the Israeli 2015 Elections Using Data from the National Resilience Survey.” International Journal of Social Science Studies 4.7 (2016): 63-74.
From a socio-political point of view, the results of the Israeli 2015 elections reflect an ongoing stagnation that is described in detail in this research. This stagnation is often explained by theories of social collective identities. However, none of the theories examines how group identities are created. Consequently, this study explains how different forms of national ethos shape political identities and interweave with them.
Relying on a wide set of data from the National Resilience Survey launched by the National Security Studies Center at Haifa University, this research examines the way Israeli political parties differ according to voters’ attitudes on matters of national ethos. The findings show how opposing parties correspond with the two distinct forms of national ethos. However, the data also reveals that the ethos clash is not necessarily a dichotomy, but rather a continuum where various parties are located along a spectrum between the poles.
A month and a half prior to the highly contested 2015 Israeli elections, we randomly
assigned 1,345 Jewish Israeli voters to either a financial asset treatment or a control group. Individuals in the asset treatment received endowments of assets that tracked the value of specific funds or company stocks from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or an endowment of cash they could invest in an asset that tracked the Tel Aviv 25 index. They were also given incentives to monitor the performance of their asset and to make weekly decisions to buy or sell part of their portfolio. We further randomized the dates at which individuals would be entirely divested of their portfolio to be either before or after the elections, and randomly assigned the initial value of the portfolio ($50 or $100).
Following the premature collapse of an eclectic right-wing and centre-left government, Israelis went to the polls on the 17 March, 2015. Despite what appeared to be a clear-cut right-wing victory, the thirty-fourth government of Israel was constituted 14 May, 2015, over two months after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent electoral triumph. This profile examines the contours of Israel’s recent election campaign and formation of a new government, assessing the triumphs and pitfalls of Israel’s major political parties during the election period. Similarly, this profile delineates the major political issues and dominant personalities featuring throughout the campaign. Subsequently, this profile traces the often-frantic coalition negotiations that led to formation of the thirty-fourth Israeli administration. Finally, the domestic and foreign policy implications of an increased hegemony of right-wing parties in the current government are outlined. Conversely, the narrow majority of the new government suggests ideological homogeneity may come with a price of increased political instability for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
We developed a smartphone application, Ha’Midgam, to poll and forecast the results of the 2015 Israeli elections. The application was downloaded by over 7,500 people. We present the method used to control bias in our sample and our forecasts. We discuss limitations of our approach and suggest possible solutions to control bias in similar applications.
The Votes are In! “Post-Election Israel” Panel Discussion with Natan Sachs, Brookings Institution and The Forward’s Nathan Guttman
Monday, March 23, 7:30 PM
Join us for an in-depth panel discussion on the implications of the Israeli Election with Nathan Sachs, Fellow for Middle East Policy at the Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, and Nathan Guttman, Washington Bureau Chief for The Jewish Daily: Forward. Moderated by Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies. Sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies. Location: School of International Service Abramson Family Founders Room.